Everyone goes through tough times in life, and implementing healthy coping skills is essential to help us work through times of anxiety, depression, loneliness, or grief.
I find it beneficial to list constructive things that have helped me feel better in the past when faced with difficulty in my life. The idea here is to create positive feelings of accomplishment—what worked—rather than turning to self-destructive behaviors which only make things worse.
Spend some time thinking about things that comfort you and jot them down on paper. Even things like taking a hot bath can be included if that makes you feel better.
Here are a few ways to cope during tough times that are helpful to me.
Exercise always has a positive effect on my mood even if it’s just a short walk. Exercise causes the body to release chemicals called endorphins which trigger positive feelings. Any kind of movement is better than none at all, and every effort counts, including things like house and yard work. Joining a group exercise class may help you as well by providing social support.
I find writing to be very therapeutic. It is one of the reasons I started this blog. Writing out my feelings always makes me feel better. And it’s important to realize that what you write doesn’t have to be perfect, just get your thoughts out of your head. There are many wonderful people in the blogging community who are very supportive if you are thinking about starting a blog. Writing out a list of words or fragments of sentences that describe how you feel can be very helpful as well.
Take a listen to some of your favorite songs. But choose wisely, pick songs that are uplifting and motivational. The wrong kind of music can make you feel worse. Listening to nature sounds can also be soothing.
Art and coloring
When I am involved in an artistic endeavor, it’s hard for me to think of anything negative. Give adult coloring books a try using colored pencils. Pour your thoughts and energy into the picture in front of you. Coloring can be especially helpful for anxiety.
Almost anything can be photographed indoors or out. Set up shots of things you find interesting or beautiful. Try to find enjoyment during the activity as well as afterward, when you view and perhaps share your photos with others.
Sometimes when I am feeling out of control, cleaning helps me to feel more in control. I always feel better when my living environment is neat and tidy. Cleaning helps to keep my mind away from negative thoughts when I am focused on a specific task.
Pets bring unconditional love to your life every day. My dog has really helped me with transitions in my life. She is my running buddy and a devoted friend. Pets also make perfect companions if you are experiencing loneliness. There is nothing like the love a dog or cat will return to you if you take good care of them.
Is there something else you can add to this list that will help you feel better? If you are going through a tough time, please consider trying just one thing. If not now, come back to this list or your own list later. Anything is worth a try if it helps, right?
With lots of love,
*Please seek professional help if you have been struggling for more than a few weeks with any of the following:
Weight loss or gain
Anger and/or irritability
Trouble with concentration/memory
Lack of libido
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